Exploring The World Of Rare Spirits With The Last Drop Distillers
When industry veterans James Espey and Tom Jago founded The Last Drop Distillers in 2008, the goal was to act as modern day treasure hunters, unearthing forgotten spirits casks left to mature for decades or even centuries, and bringing their exceptional golden nectars to light. With a quality standard bordering on the extreme, and the resulting scarcity, The Last Drop released just 21 bottlings in its first 12 years, totaling fewer than 9,000 bottles.
Under the stewardship of new managing director Rebecca Jago, whose father, Tom, passed in 2018, the plan is to retain that same ethos while still finding a way to do more. That's led to the creation of a line of Signature Blends, in which Jago and her team have the enviable task of raiding their own cupboards to cobble together something distinctive and fresh while ensuring the quality, the provenance, and the scarcity are all at the same lofty levels.
“The business that James and my father founded has changed very little in its objectives and values—we are still fundamentally obsessed with celebrating truly remarkable spirits,” Jago says. “Whether it is an impractically small parcel of 20 bottles of incredibly aged Cognac, or an astonishingly unique release like our forthcoming century-old Pineau des Charentes, we believe that bringing these spirits to light so they may be appreciated and enjoyed is a worthwhile endeavor.”
It's a move from hunting and curating to hands-on creating.
“As our collection of casks has grown, there was a realization that judicious blending as their maturity peaks could harness their diverse and different characteristics to create something truly remarkable,” Jago says. “Our sourcing process doesn’t change whether we’re curating or creating; we simply look for inherent quality and character in every cask that makes it into the collection.”
To accomplish the task, The Last Drop, which is based in London, has tapped Colin Scott as its first master blender. Scott, who has 50 years of industry experience, unleashed an inaugural blend with a maturation level to match his own: the Last Drop 50 Year Old Signature Blended Scotch Whisky was released in July, with only 500 bottles made available.